Photo by Loic Venace/AFP/Getty Images
A Marine sargent was recommended for dismissal by a military board Thursday night after leaving anti-Obama posts on four Facebook pages.
Sgt. Gary Stein, 26, faces an "other than honorable discharge" for alleged misconduct that Marine lawyers argued was "prejudicial to good order and discipline," as the Los Angeles Times reports. The recommendations of the board now make their way to a general, who will either accept or reject them. If accepted, Stein will lose his benefits and access to military bases. If rejected, his case may go to the Secretary of the Navy, according to the Associated Press. Stein has already lost his security clearence and been assigned an office job with no access to computers.
Stein, who served in Iraq, apparently superimposed Obama's image onto movie posters for Jackass and The Incredibles (changed, of course, to The Horribles), which he then posted to Facebook, according to the AP. The Marine also posted on various groups of the social networking site that referred to the President as "the economic and religious enemy" and a coward.
The Marine Corps opted to take action against Stein's comments after he posted that he wouldn't follow orders (later clarified as unlawful orders) from Obama, apparently in reference to an ongoing debate about speculation that NATO troops who burned Qurans in Afghansitan would be tried in the country. Stein's remark drew support form Rep. Darrell Issa, as the AP reports.
Military policy that limits free-speech rights of active duty service members includes criticism of the president, and participation in many forms of public political advocacy. But Stein's lawyers argued that his comments were made while off duty, and should therefore be protected by the First Amendment, reports the L.A. Times.